Gore 2008!At an Air America relaunch, Bill Clinton said Al Gore has the money to run for president. Rudy Giuliani is raising money in Jerusalem. Paul McCartney is playing new songs at a free Highline Ballroom show tonight. Tom Wolfe is worried Gus Van Sant’s adaptation of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test won’t do the LSD trips justice. Mel Brooks thinks Cloris Leachmen is too old to reprise her role in Young Frankenstein. Paris Hilton is naked online again. At the Apollo’s spring benefit, David Dinkins said he likes Kyra Sedgwick. Dumbo developer David Walentas will play polo with Adolpho Cambiaso, the world’s best player, in Bridgehampton this summer. Beyoncé wouldn’t sign a British fan’s painting. Britney Spears exposed herself again, and snuggled with gal pal, at a Hollywood club.
A Dumbo Developer by Any Other Name …
Is Dumbo megadeveloper David Walentas the inspiration for the adaptation of an Elizabethan play that opens tomorrow night in the arty turned pricey hood? Spring Theaterworks is staging Arden: The Lamentable Tragedie of a Dumbo Real Estate Mogul. It’s the 1592 play Arden of Feveresham, which chronicles the gory end of a shady landowner (and some say was written by Shakespeare), relocated to modern-day Dumbo, where Arden lives in a sleek loft space. As for Walentas, he nearly single-handedly converted the area’s old industrial hulks into luxury condos, and he both supported and displaced local artists as he did it. He’s not named in the new script, but everyone’s buzzing that the lushly maned macher is the model for the new Arden, whose onstage death is plotted by his wife and her lover. (Walentas’ real-life wife, Jane, has plotted only to restore an old carousel — at least as far as anyone knows.)
David Walentas, Neighborhood Creator and Patron of the Arts
Is Downtown Brooklyn the new theater district? David Walentas, the developer famous for turning Dumbo from industrial wasteland into its present chichi incarnation, thinks so, and he’s willing to foot the bill to make it happen. The self-proclaimed “Pied Piper of Dumbo,” who’s taking his tune to 110 Livingston, the former Board of Ed headquarters he’s turning into condos, is offering at least ten years free rent to a theater group that takes up residence there. Walentas’s son, Jed, says they “think [having a theater] will be good for the neighborhood,” though it’s obviously not bad for business, either, to have apartments situated in a thriving, artsy area, which isn’t exactly what Downtown Brooklyn is — yet. Walentas previously worked the same M.O. in Dumbo, where he subsidized rents for St. Ann’s Warehouse, Smack Mellon Gallery, and Jacques Torres’s workshop to keep the neighborhood “edgy” (gruppy?) though decidedly upscale.